FIA Engine Regulations – For 2004

Here’s another puzzle that needs a degree of application to make sense of. Our man Cybersdorf spotted the 2004 FIA prototype engine regulations on the FIA website a few days ago – and left the Ed. to try and make sense of them.

Here’s the first conclusion, helpfully pointed out by Michael Cotton: these are FIA sportscar regulations, and although the main changes relate to both engines and chassis (that thorny subject of reducing yaw / increasing stability, which has been covered in some detail here in the past), the engine changes are specifically FIA (SCC) engine rules for 2004, not ACO (or combined FIA/ACO) engine rules. They are FIA engine rules.

There is an apparent obligation for the ACO to adopt the FIA chassis rules for next year, in the interests of safety, but as far as we know, the ACO can implement their own engine rules….when they announce their 2004 plans at, or before, Sebring.

The FIA rules are specifically for SR1 and SR2 cars, the former continuing with a six litre normally aspirated (four litre turbo) maximum displacement, and a minimum weight of 900 kg.

It’s the FIA SR2 rules that see the engine changes, although the minimum weight does go up by 30kg, to 750 kg. Three litre, six cylinder engines remain as before (based on volume production units), turbo charged production engines are not allowed, but in come Group N and Group N-GT engines: up to 4.2 litre normally aspirated or 2.7 litre turbo charged. N-GT engines such as the 911 GT3-RS flat six were first proposed many months ago, but the purpose of allowing them in is hard to fathom at the moment – and they don’t seem evenly matched. The Porsche engine, for example, looks to have a significant advantage over a current, three litre V6, and would need a significant degree of further ‘restricting’ to make it comparable. Purchase costs are higher too.

Are SR2 cars viable homes for a manufacturer’s engines anyway (any more than a DP)? SR2 used to be a market for specialist chassis manufacturers and specialist engine builders….

What we’ve tried to make clear here is that it is wrong to assume that these engine regs. apply to ACO sanctioned events. The ACO will announce their (LMP1 / LMP2) rules at / before Sebring, and we won’t second guess what they will announce.

The pre-Sebring anticipation that we sense here is based on the 675s really coming to grips with the 900s, almost for the first time. We fervently hope that this ‘balance of power’ remains in the future.

This item largely avoids reference to the FIA ‘keel’ required for new chassis next year, and when asked about plans for current (flat bottom) chassis in 2004, the ACO’s Sport Delegate Gerard Gachet told Andrew Cotton recently that “we’re working on that issue, and it’s part of the discussion between the ACO, the FIA and the constructors….”


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